Great Metal Albums of 1987: Briar- Take On the World

Sometimes it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time when it comes about discovering a new band. I’m sure that was the case with some bands with many of you. In this particular instance, my discovery of British metal band, Briar, came when I saw them support legends Stryper at the Hammersmith Odeon in May of 1987. Stryper were absolutely phenomenal that night and I was sure that my one friend Dave was going to convert right there and then. Furthermore, another friend, Tim, was hit by a flying bible but someone else grabbed it before he realised what happened. Oh yes, I’m posting about Briar. Actually, I don’t remember anything spectacular about them and the song I remember most, “One Foot Back in the Door,” appears on their next album. However, there was something about the band or I wouldn’t have remembered them after all these years.

Their 1987 album, “Take on the World,” opens with the title track and what you get sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a straightforward metal tune with some decent guitar and vocal work. It’s a good track to lead off the album but the next track, “Closing In,” is better. The intro is straight to the point but very catchy. It’s a song to bob your head along to while you are driving or sitting down and listening to. However, it does tail off a little in the middle and there could be a little more oomph to the chorus but the guitar solo makes those issues very minor.

“Odd One Out” is a faster paced song which keeps going right to the chorus and that’s my minor complaint about it. The chorus sounds a little lazy but again, this is more me nitpicking because the rest of the song, guitar solo included is very good. The chorus issue goes away on the next track, “Everybody,” in spite of the fact that the lyrics are one of those ‘I’ve heard this before’ type. It’s sung with more passion and there are some good heavy guitar riffs and a cool solo trade off between guitarists Dave Fletcher and Darren Underwood. The two D’s carry that on to the next track, “Always Gonna Love You” with a great lead guitar intro. This is the fastest song on the album, though it’s not near Exodus speed but it’s a good headbanger nonetheless. Especially with another guitar solo trade off.

With expectation building as the album goes on, one might think “Lorraine” would be an extra super track. It’s not bad, there is some good strong riffs on it but it’s more of a plateau than an ascension in metal build up. I don’t know if a single was ever released from the album but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was this track. I think my problem with the track is that there is no guitar solo and I think the inclusion of such would have given it the boost it needed.

Now, as you know, I am a sucker for a great power ballad and “Without You” had the potential to be such. Unfortunately, the track is let down from what I feel is lousy production. The guitar work is very good and maybe it’s time to comment on Kevin Griffiths vocals because while he sounds good on the rest of the album, his vocals are the only thing not adversely effected by the production on this track. Fortunately, all is well because Briar go out on a total high with the closer, “Keep On Running.” It has that 80s, ‘let’s make them think it’s recorded live’ effect on it but in this case, that only makes it sound that much better! There is definitely some oomph to this track and it’s my favourite on the album right down to the fantastic guitar solo. Oh yes, message to Blackie Lawless, Kevin Griffiths plays bass as well as sings lead and proves you can do both effectively.

Track Listing:

  1. Take On the World
  2. Closing In
  3. Odd One Out
  4. Everybody
  5. Always Gonna Love You
  6. Lorraine
  7. Without You
  8. Keep On Running
Briar

Kevin Griffiths- lead vocals, bass

Dave Fletcher- guitar, backing vocals

Darren Underwood- guitar, backing vocals

Dean Cook- drums, backing vocals

Briar came and went unnoticed by most of the metal world but not by me. I urge you to take a second and have a listen to the “Take On the World” album, I can assure you it won’t be time wasted.

Next post: I am taking a bit of a hiatus for the next two weeks or so. Next week, I have a 72 hour shift at work, (I get paid to sleep in) and then I will visit my daughter. Next Sunday, I am going to do something which one would have thought I would have done growing up in America. Unfortunately, it was always one of those things I was meaning to do but never got around to it. I will be going with my two sons to London to watch an NFL game. When I get back from that, Mrs 80smetalman and I are going away for a couple of days. When I do return, I will be taking a leaf out of 2loud’s book and writing my own Cover vs. Original post. Stay safe until then.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

12 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Briar- Take On the World”

  1. Lovely write-up here! Being from the UK myself, I’m not familiar with Briar but after reading this, I’ll definitely get my teeth into them and have a good old listen. I hope you have a fantastic time as you head up to London in the coming weeks. I’ve had the opportunity to go myself with my dad and we watched the Miami Dolphins at Wembley. Fantastic scenes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I never heard of them, but cool they are getting some recognition by your great site!! What teams are playing for the NFL game. Today, I think my Atlanta Falcons are playing in London. Game starts at 9:30am our time. And thanks for the shout out, can’t wait to read that post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice review- picked up crown of thorns on vinyl recently

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Passed me by but this why we come to your site – we learn new things! Right on. Stay safe, have fun, see you in these pages when you get back.

    Liked by 1 person

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